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March 29, 2018
Latest News
Join Us for Worship This Sunday
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Love & Justice Anniversary Potluck
Stewardship Testimonial
From the Stewardship Team - Did You Know?
Summit on Sanctuary
Stewardship Commitment Card Raffle
Make Connections & Make a Difference - COTS Walk
2018 UUA General Assembly
General Assembly Grants
Classes on Islam at FUUSB
FUUSB Camping Trip
Care Network Team Update
UUA Workshop - Spiritual Leadership
Upcoming Service
Sunday, April 8 at
9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Worship Lead:
Rev. Mara Dowdall, Senior Minister

Worship Associate: 
Maeve McBride

"Dayenu Redux"
As the Jewish observance of Passover comes to a close, we'll explore the messages of this sacred festival which commemorates the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt millenia ago. Rev. Mara will revisit with us a sermon she preached a few years ago about the idea of "Dayenu," which means "It would have been enough," to consider what value this spiritual orientation of gratitude might hold for us as we navigate life in our current times.


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Join Us for Worship This Sunday
Sunday, April 1  at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Worship Lead: 
Rev. Mara Dowdall, Senior Minister
Worship Associate:  Rodney Lowe

"Holy Surprises" 
Multigenerational Easter Celebration
On Easter morning, we'll gather as a worship community of all ages to celebrate together the ancient stories of the season. Our service will touch on the holiday's connection to Earth-centered celebrations of the spring equinox, as well as consider anew the scriptural accounts of Jesus' death and resurrection. We'll explore the element of surprise woven throughout the stories and what it might have to say about our contemporary spiritual lives. Our traditional Easter egg hunt will take place in the Memorial Garden between services.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt Approaches!
null Erika Reif

We ask that each family bring in one dozen filled plastic eggs per child participating. Due to several life-threatening food allergies among the children, please fill the eggs with non-food items only. Ideas for egg-fillers are: stickers, tattoos, chalk, flower bulbs, coins, bouncy balls, small toy figures, and rings/bracelets. Get creative! It's fun to see all the great ideas that pop out of the eggs.

Regardless of weather, the hunt will take place in the Memorial Garden at 10:15 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 1. We need some volunteers to hide eggs and to help run the event. Please contact Erika Reif at 
Love & Justice Anniversary Potluck
Zoe Hart

One year ago on April 5 we held our first Love & Justice Vigil in front of the Meeting House. Since then we've been out on the sidewalk every Wednesday without fail, siding with love and calling for justice in our world. Next Wednesday, April 4 we'll celebrate our one year anniversary with a post-vigil potluck dinner. Whether you're a Love & Justice regular or have made it to one or two vigils or hope to make it to one someday, join us in the Community Room at  5:45 p.m. to celebrate a year of Love & Justice.
Stewardship Testimonial
nullGene Bergman

I've been coming here for a long time. When I needed a community that was multi-generational, friendly, and caring, this Society was here. When I needed a spiritual home based on principles and values that speak to my heart and my head, and that respects and can coexist with my Judaism, this Society was and is here. When I've needed to respond to and resist the politics of the times, this Society and our seven UU principles have been there. My wife Wendy grew up as a UU, we were married here, our kids had RE and OWL here; our son was married here by Rev. Mara just two weeks ago, with Sam playing the piano.
Not everyone has or wants to have this kind of relationship with this Society. But all of us keep connected because it gives us something deep, something that feeds us, enlightens us, warms us. We learn things about worlds, physical and metaphysical, that we cannot learn on our own - because we learn them in a community of seekers.
Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderers, worshipers, lovers of leaving,
Ours is no caravan of despair
Come yet again come.
Ah, where else can a Jewish boy regularly sing Rumi in worship but in a UU Society?
I am so grateful for this. For the chance to stand in public witness for Love and Justice with my UU brothers and sisters on Wednesdays, to Call on our Representatives to Build a Moral Economy as a UU with my co-religious comrades of Vermont Interfaith Action, to regularly Stand Against White Supremacy and Misogyny with all of you.
Wendy and I try to express our gratitude for all we get here by giving of our time, as much as we can given all the demands life makes on us. And every year we express our gratitude by pledging all we can given our circumstances. It takes so much to create all of what we do at the FUUSB and without a generosity grounded in that gratitude none of it would happen. What a hole it would leave in our lives and in the community's life if the First UU were not here.
We are close to the end of the Stewardship campaign. We've been doing really well but there are still 55% of us who have not yet pledged. And we really need everyone to pledge as generously as possible given your circumstances. The good news is you can still pledge online anytime at, or by mail, or at the meetinghouse where pledge cards and brochures are available. And as a special incentive, when you pledge, your name will be entered into a raffle for gift certificates generously donated by Phoenix Books, the Peace & Justice Center, and Church Street Marketplace.
So t hank you for being part of my spiritual community and helping us be a light in a world that needs all the light it can get. Together we will build that brighter future.

From the Stewardship Team -
Did You Know?
Our Sunday Loose Plate collection gives back to our community:
  • Our Christmas Eve collection (our largest of the year) goes to these four nonprofits: Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP), Vermont Interfaith Action, our UU Partner Church, and our Discretionary Fund.
Vermont Summit on Sanctuary
Welcoming the Stranger, Our Neighbor: 
An Introduction to New Sanctuary Movement
Headlines of fathers and mothers, scientists and school teachers, dairy farm workers and political activists being taken from families and communities flood our news feeds. Occasionally we see reference to some finding sanctuary in a church. Many of us are moved with compassion to do something to help these strangers, our neighbors. But we may lack the understanding to know exactly what to do. And even if we have an idea, we may not have the resources to accomplish this task alone.
If this is where you and/or your congregation find yourself, then this one-day conference is for you. Join us at Holy Family Parish Center in Essex Junction (4 Prospect St.) on Sunday, April 15 from 1:30-5:30 p.m. 

Our time will begin with Pastor Vicki Kemper from First Congregational Church, Amherst, MA sharing her congregation's experience of providing sanctuary. We will follow this with Q&A time with local immigration lawyers. Concurrent workshops about Building a Rapid Response Network and Policy & Advocacy in 2018 will conclude our time, followed by a chance to network with other people of faith.
To register for the conference, please email Melissa Battah of Vermont Interfaith Action at
Stewardship Commitment Card Raffle!
Christina Fulton, Director of Operations  

As you may recall, we have had a special raffle each week for everyone who has completed a pledge card. Our raffle prizes were donated by Church Street Marketplace, Phoenix Books, and the Peace & Justice Center. This week the winners of the $50 gift certificate to Phoenix Books are  Julia Blake & Stephen Gelatt! And the winner of the $50 gift certificate to the Church Street Marketplace establishment of his choice is Ed Amidon! Congratulations!! If you would like to be included in the next raffle, all you need to do is send in your pledge card or complete your pledge card online at  
The next and final drawing will take place on Sunday, April 15!
Make Connections and Make a Difference
Zoe Hart

I'm looking for one or two volunteers to lead First UU's team in this year's COTS Walk. This is a relatively simple, short-term commitment and a great way to connect with other UU's and make a real difference for the Committee On Temporary Shelter, a critical provider of services to homeless individuals and families. If this is your first time in a volunteer role like this, as Justice & Outreach lead, I'll work with you to know what needs to be done and how to do it and support you all along the way. In past years we've had a really strong team. Lots of UU's are eager to walk and just waiting for someone like you to organize our team. If you're interested, contact me at 

2018 UUA General Assembly!

GA is in Kansas City, Missouri from  June 20-24 . Think you might be interested? Check it out on the UUA website: 

General Assembly Grants
Christina Fulton, Director of Operations

If you're planning to attend the 2018 UU General Assembly in Kansas City, MO and need some help paying for your registration, then I have good news for you! FUUSB has a small pot of money available to assist members with their GA registration fees. Adult Registration is $395 until April 30, and $450 from  May 1-June 24. You can find more detailed registration information at

If you would like to apply for a grant, email Christina Fulton at  by April 22. On  April 23 we will award grants and mail reimbursement checks. I hope to see you at GA!

What We Share With Other Faith Traditions: Classes on Islam at FUUSB

Caitlin Waddick

Have you ever read the Qur'an? Here is your chance! 

The Sanctuary and Solidarity Task Force seeks to deepen our understanding of Islam as a way to combat Islamophobia and be ready for solidarity actions with our neighbors of this faith. We sponsored a 2-part film series in January and February. The films were "Inside Islam: A Sweeping Story of One of the World's Great Faiths (produced by the History Channel) and "Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think" (based on a Gallop poll). Thank you for making the film series a smashing success. Next, the Task Force has invited me to teach two classes about Islam, based partly on what we teach our 7th graders in the world religions program called Building Bridges (formerly known as Neighboring Faiths). 

The classes will be from  12:30-2 p.m. after the second services on April 22 and May 6. The first lesson, "Peace by Surrender," will cover the numbers of religious adherents, the life of Muhammed, the five pillars of Islam, and beliefs shared with UUism. We could also practice Muslim greetings and Arabic script. The second lesson on "Contemporary Issues" might include the division between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, comparisons between Islam and associated religions (Judaism, Christianity, Sufism, Sikhism, Baha'i), the life of Khadijah, women's status, and Muslims in peace and conflict. We would have time for asking questions and having discussions. 

Would you attend on April 22 and May 6? What topics do you want to learn about? Do you have pictures or objects to share? Please reply to  Caitlin.Waddick@gmail.com802-497-0920 (during daylight hours).  

Generally, we are thinking about ways to honor our value for religious pluralism with programming about the beliefs and practices of other faiths. What faith traditions would you like to explore with other UUs? I would be willing to cooperatively lead and organize other classes like this one, based on your interests. 

FUUSB Camping Trip to Lake Elmore
Nancy Hellen

This beloved annual tradition is happening from Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 17.

General Info: Come for a weekend of fun, eating, hiking, relaxing, fellowship, boating, swimming, games, and, often, a lovely Sunday worship on the beach. We meet on the Friday evening for a potluck, which is fun and casual. All activities are optional, and whatever level of joining-in works for your family is a good level. All welcome, a great way to gather with others in our UU community.  

This year's details: Each family signs up individually through the state park reservation system (see below). The UU group gathers in sites 1-11 and 13 (plus the lean-tos in that section).

Link to State Park reservations:  

You can call or reserve online The cost of the weekend is $52 per lean-to ($43 per tent site) for two nights for up to 4 people (extra people even if they're kids are $5 per night and dogs are $1 per night each.)  When you make a reservation please email Xu at: so we have your contact information.  If an overnight doesn't work for you, join us for the day: Day Use Admittance Fees, $4 adult and $2 child.  Find information about the park here:  Elmore State Park.  

Questions? Contact Nancy at
We hope you'll join us !

Care Network Team Update
Please let the Care Network Team know if you are aware of someone in the community who could use some support, whether it be a visit, a comforting prayer shawl, or a meal. The email is: 

Share a meal with one of the following families. Nothing fancy is required. Your assistance does NOT have to be a 4-course gourmet meal. Anything helps.  Bon appetit!

*  Miriam (Tammy) Strauss is dealing with long-term health issues caused by being rear-ended by a cattle truck.  One meal every week  is a major support to her.  

*  Kathy Bonilla has been fighting a long-term health battle and she and her two granddaughters truly appreciate the help that a few meals a week can be. 

Note: John Lincoln and Jill Stevens are not currently in need of help and have asked to suspend their meal train for a month or so. Elz Curtiss and Lynne Matthews are also not in need right now. Stay tuned! Thank you to all who have contributed.  


NOTE: As we get them, we are posting recipes from the "Hop on the Mealtrain" event on the Care Network section of the Society website. Keep checking for delicious ideas. Thank you to Suzie McCoy, Linda Graves and Abbie Nelson for the recipes so far.)  Scroll down to see the recipes. AND if you have a recipe you would like to share, please send it to .  

Claiming Your Spiritual Leadership - 
UUA Workshop

A workshop designed for religious professionals and lay people who seek to grow spiritually while advancing the mission of their congregation.

  • Saturday, April 28 in East Greenwich, RI    (Register)
  • Saturday, May 12 in Nashua, NH (Register)
PRESENTERS: Your New England Region Staff Team

As a leader in your congregation, do you find yourself busy, even too busy with commitments that feel more like chores than the joyful expression of your faith? Do you worry about not having enough volunteers, funding, members? Do you long to deepen or recapture your connection with spirit, purpose, awe? Do you have bold ideas or a vision for change but feel unsure how to bring it about, or how to express it in a way that will be welcomed?

If you answered yes to these questions, there's another way, available to all and yours to claim: the way and practices of spiritual leadership.

Spiritual leadership assumes that each of us has gifts the world needs us to deliver. Congregations can be places where we explore and reveal our gifts, and where we can make it collectively possible for all our gifts to be identified and shared. Spiritual leadership transforms church work into spiritual growth and community building.  This program invites you into a deeper awareness of the nature and practices of spiritual leadership.

This program is designed for religious professionals and lay people to learn together. Because shifts in congregational practice require sustained group effort, you are strongly encouraged to attend this workshop with a team of five or more.